Welcome, today we are talking with Rachel Brimble! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, let’s delve into who you are. Some of the questions may be untraditional but you’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.

Can you share a little something about Rachel Brimble that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website? 

One of the scariest moments of my life was when myself, my husband and our young daughters were rescued by helicopter from a clubhouse roof during the 2010 French floods… 

How long have you been writing? 

18 years – I started writing my first novel in 2005 and that was published in 2007. Since then, I’ve had at least one novel published every year which makes me so happy.

What have you found most challenging about it? 

The thing I find the most challenging about writing a novel is the plotting – I am very much a plotter and have a really good idea how the book will play out before I start writing. Yet, twenty-eight books later, and I still ground to a horrible halt around the 40,000 word mark and think the whole story is terrible – that’s when I rely on my experience and just push through to the end. A crappy first draft can always be edited…

What does writing do for you? Is it fun, cathartic, do you get emotional?  

All of the above! It really depends on the character or the scene I am writing. Each character tends to have a different effect on me when I am writing. Obviously, some cooperate with me more than others. Also, the type of scene affects me too – I often bring past issues into my books, things that I’ve dealt with in my life, and writing them out is hugely cathartic…and emotional! 

Describe what your writing routine looks like. Are you disciplined with a strict schedule or do you have to be in the mood? 

I am definitely disciplined, but my writing time has been a little sporadic since I started studying for a history degree last year. Right now, I work Monday – Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm with a lunch break and a dog walk in between. I tend to spend an hour or so on emails and social media posts, then I will work on my degree for a couple of hours and then the rest of the time is for writing. These days, I am thrilled if I manage 1,500 words in a day – it used to be double that *sigh* 

Did you go into writing thinking that it would be a hobby or a job? 

Oh, I was definitely thinking this would be my dream job and I am hugely proud of my success BUT I didn’t realise how much additional work is involved on top of the writing. I always warn new writers about the time needed for promotion, editing etc as well as the actual writing. 

What inspires you? 

For my stories, it is usually historical buildings or towns – setting is usually where my books start to percolate in my mind! I also love TV period dramas and often imagine my favourites re-written as I’d like them to be! Personally, I find inspiration in positive, spiritual people and generous, funny and kind fellow authors. 

Let’s move on and give readers some insight into your personal life.

 What are your pet peeves?

I cannot stand prejudice of any kind – can’t we all just live in harmony?

 Who is your hero? 

Hmm, I’m not sure I have one – I admire a lot of people, but careful not to put anyone on a pedestal. 

Give us one thing on your bucket list.

Right now, visiting Vienna is at the top of my bucket list – in fact, most of my bucket list is travel-based!

What would readers find surprising about you? 

I haven’t had my hair professionally cut since my wedding day in 1998 – it is so curly, my husband or daughters just give it a quick trim every now and then, lol!

If you could go to heaven, who would you visit? 

My dad – he died in 2018 after suffering with dementia for over 5 years 

Now that our readers know who Rachel Brimble is let’s get down to the business of your book, Victoria & Violet. 

Please tell us a little bit about, Victoria & Violet.

Victoria and Violet is a story about royal housemaid Violet Parker and her battle to escape the clutches of her controlling mother. She is finally given a potential escape when she is appointed to a young Queen Victoria’s household. The two women strike up an unexpected friendship that leads to them joining forces against their overbearing mothers…

What was your hardest challenge writing this book? 

This is the first time I have included real people and events in my work, so the research was intense and long – not that I didn’t love every minute! I was very nervous that I might have got something not quite right when the book was released, but so far, so good! 

What kind of research did you have to do? 

A lot! I read numerous non-fiction books, watched documentaries and TV series as well as spending a lot of time in our local historical archives. Reading about Victoria and her court during her early reign was fascinating and gave me such a different perspective to the grieving monarch she become later…

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters? 

Their humour and their passions – I love creating my main characters’ desires, secrets and scars and have them slowly reveal them to each other. I like them to be vulnerable yet strong, fearful yet brave – how they react to each other and certain situations leads to good chemistry. 

Any other works in progress? 

I have a new book under consideration with a publisher now and hope this will be the first in a series set in a fictional royal house. I am also halfway through the first draft of my very first WWII novel – watch this space!

Here’s where I usually ask an author if he/she has any advice for aspiring writers. I noticed on your website that you offer a First Chapter Critique service. Can you tell us something about it?  

I’d love to! My First Chapter Critique service is so important to me – I started it in 2019 when I decided to pay forward all the help I received from published authors when I was new to the writing world.

Aspiring romance or women’s fiction authors send me the first 3,500 words of their novel and I go through these pages and critique them. On top of that, they will receive a 3-4 page report on all aspects of writing from dialogue, to characterization, setting and plotting which will give the writer all they need to polish the rest of their novel.

For more details, head over to my dedicated website page here: https://rachelbrimble.com/first-chapter-critique-service/ 

Final words?

Thank you so much for having me here today! I have loved answering your questions and having the opportunity to share some of my life and work with your visitors.

Please include the following links and an author picture:

Website:  https://rachelbrimble.com/

Blog:  https://rachelbrimble.blogspot.com/

Email: rachelbrimble@gmail.com

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